County budget would leave several projects on the shelf

Concerns about deferred initiatives may prompt officials to increase spending
Ozaukee Press staff

The proposed 2019 Ozaukee County budget includes a long list of projects and does not raise taxes much to pay for them. But it also leaves many more projects on the table.

And that has some supervisors thinking about using all the taxing authority allowed by the state.

The proposed budget presented to the County Board was developed by the board’s Executive Committee, which consists of the board leadership and the chairmen of the board committees.

For the first time since 2014, Lasata Care Center in Cedarburg will not be supported by tax levy. Other budget items include expanding hours for the shared-ride taxi and assuming Grafton police dispatch duties.

“That will cost the owner of a $250,000 home 97 cents,” County Administrator Jason Dzwinel said.

The budget includes a 2% increase in wages and benefits for county employees and an 8% increase in health care premiums.

The budget also allocates reserve funds to replace the flat roof on the Ozaukee County Justice Center and to repair the War Memorial there. 

The budget sets aside $551,000 to complete deferred projects in the 2019 budget and previous budgets using debt service reserve funds instead of paying for them from the tax levy.  

“Following budget approval, county staff will identify and prioritize projects and other one-time operational expenditures, the Executive Committee will review the projects and make a final recommendation to the County Board for approval,” Dzwinel said in an email.

Those projects and their costs include:

ν $365,000 to upgrade the phone system.

ν $50,000 to upgrade the public address security system in the Administration Center.

ν $300,000 for a parks storage and employee building.

ν $185,000 for a restroom at Covered Bridge Park in the Town of Cedarburg.

ν $175,000 for a restroom at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve in the Town of Grafton.

ν $150,000 to resurface the Interurban Trail.

The Executive Committee budget did not include $265,000 in tax levy available to it from the value of new construction, which the state allows counties to use. Doing so would increase the taxes on a $250,000 home by $5.71.

Some supervisors expressed interest in tapping into those funds to complete some of the deferred projects. But debate on the budget was not permitted since Dzwinel’s presentation was informational only.

A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, at the county Administration Center.

The board is scheduled to vote on the budget when it meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 7.





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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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